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Mike Wetzel

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Peoria, Illinois

Parent of Maureen, Class of 2013

reality best value

A smart investment

"You've got to go experience Ambrose in person. Ambrose is, for the dollar, the best value education a kid can get."

With a St. Ambrose degree under his belt, and a daughter who also earned her degree here, Mike has seen the university from both sides. And though St. Ambrose has grown since his student days, it has maintained the small classes and approachable professors that he says give the school its greatest value.

In his own words

How did you end up at St. Ambrose as a student?

I went to a big school for a semester. And to be honest with you, I enjoyed myself too much. My schoolwork wasn't getting done. I'd have 300 people in my classes, so unless you were very disciplined – which I was not – it was tough because there was no one-on-one time. I transferred to a junior college but was miserable. I had friends at St. Ambrose, so I transferred. It was the right fit for me.

How hard did you sell Ambrose to your daughter?

I didn't push. Maybe I was pulling for Ambrose a little, but she had to decide for herself. She went there to visit and just loved it.

As a parent, what about Ambrose appeals to you most?

The best thing about Ambrose is the ability to have one-on-one conversations with your professors. Small class size is a huge advantage. When Maureen struggled, like she did for a while in her accounting class, all she had to do was ask for help and she got it.

What was the admissions process like as a parent?

She was our first to go away to school, so it was eye-opening for us. Ambrose helped us walk through the process and answered our questions. People sending their kids to Ambrose might have sticker shock at first, but Ambrose works with every student to see what's possible. They did that for us.

How did your financial aid package make Ambrose possible?

My daughter got an academic scholarship, a cheerleading scholarship, a campus job and another grant. When I looked at the cost overall, a state school in Illinois would have cost a little less. But, to be honest, the cost after the scholarships and aid is about the same.

Is Ambrose worth the additional cost?

Yes. At the end of the day, sometimes you can't look at money alone. You have to look at value. She received a terrific education there, and she really excelled.

What were some of her activities?

She gave tours for the admissions office. She was on the cheerleading squad. She loved her teachers. She loved the activities. When we went to Ambrose ball games, teachers and administrators came up and talked with her. She knew everybody on campus– and that was the perfect atmosphere for her.

How has Ambrose changed since your student days?

When I walked across campus I thought, "If only it could have been like this when I was here!" It's so much bigger. It has beautiful new buildings and some of the best dorm rooms in the country. What the school offers today is so much more than when I was there. It's grown, but it still has the elements that matter: small class size and one-on-one time with teachers.

What's your advice for other parents?

Don't just look at the up-front cost. You've got to go experience Ambrose in person. Ambrose is, for the dollar, the best value education a kid can get.

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